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A concert celebrating the life of Paul Goldstaub, seen here in 2008, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, in the AC-Chamber Hall. The concert, which will take place on the one-year anniversary of Goldstaub's death, will feature past and present Binghamton University music faculty members and students performing Goldstaub's works.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Concert to pay tribute to Goldstaub
January 28, 2015Tweet
As a composer, Paul Goldstaub had direct, deep, personal connections with the people who performed his music.
“He had a lifelong interest in improving as a composer,” Timothy Perry, professor of music, said of his former colleague. “He didn’t write for ‘someday.’ He wrote for a person, for a concert, for a particular occasion. Paul was enough of a student of his art that he wanted to know (the performers) and know the instruments that he was writing for.”
Those connections will be on display when Perry and other present and past Binghamton University music faculty pay tribute to Goldstaub in a “Musica Nova” concert that will present many of his works. The concert, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, in the Anderson Chamber Hall, will take place on the one-year anniversary of Goldstaub’s death and also feature former and current music students.
Tickets are $10, general public; $7 faculty/staff/seniors/alumni; $5 for students, and are available at the Anderson Center Box Office from noon-5:30 p.m. weekdays, by calling 607-777-ARTS, by purchasing online or at the door. All proceeds will benefit new music initiatives for students in the Department of Music.
Goldstaub, a professor of music composition and theory, came to Binghamton University in 1998. His compositions were performed in venues such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Minnesota Opera, Cincinnati Opera and the Society for New Music, and around the world in countries such as Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan. The Binghamton Philharmonic performed his work for chamber orchestra, “I Am Prospero,” in 2013.
Compositions that will be performed at the tribute concert include “Six Slick Stix Click Licks,” “Portraits,” “Pastorale II,” “Every Evening,” “Mallet Palette” and “Shakespeare Mix.”
“The range of (Goldstaub’s) material is just astounding,” Perry said. “Several of his pieces have great wit and humor about them. Others are deeply felt.”
“Shakespeare Mix” was written in 2002 for the Binghamton University Chorus. Bruce Borton, associate professor of music, recalled the generosity of Goldstaub’s compositional skills.
“There was no occasion that was too unimportant for him to spend his efforts on as a composer – even if it was for a small group or party,” said Borton, who is among the faculty members taking the stage for the concert.
“Paul felt that music needed to be used,” Perry added. “You don’t sculpt something, place it on a shelf and hope that somebody will come by and look at it someday. He was very much composing in the moment and composing what was going on. Music should happen now and be performed now. The subsequent life of the piece would take care of itself.”
Goldstaub also started and directed the “Musica Nova” concert series at Binghamton University. The yearly shows highlighted the importance of modern music.
“He was the advocate for new music in the department, on campus and in the region,” Borton said.
While Borton and Perry said that Goldstaub’s legacy lies in his music, they stressed that some of his greatest contributions to Binghamton University and the Music Department came in the classroom.
“He inspired all of us to be better teachers,” Borton said.
Goldstaub arrived at Binghamton University as a music theorist and soon brought continuity to the program.
“He not only got students willing to take theory, but got them excited to take theory,” Perry said.
Goldstaub also was an innovative teacher who used technology such as videoconferencing before it was common, Borton said. He was interactive in the classroom, often receiving input from students and then going to the piano to play their ideas.
“He wouldn’t stand up and lecture in front of the class,” Borton said. “He would walk around the room, throwing questions out. I sat in on his class and the students were all charged up because he was that kind of teacher. He brought enthusiasm to the classroom.”
Prior to Goldstaub’s arrival at Binghamton University, composition had primarily been taught in private lessons, Borton said. Instead, Goldstaub brought undergraduate and graduate students together in a seminar format to learn from each other. This style of teaching “demystified” composition for music students, Perry said, and allowed them to tap into the creative process of music with confidence.
“(The students) would discuss contemporary compositional practice, listen to recordings, look at scores and study as a group,” Borton said. “That continues today with (Assistant Professor) Dan Davis. It’s become a big part of compositional instruction. Students have said that the chance to interact with one another as composers is one of the most beneficial parts of their instruction.”
Goldstaub’s lively and engaging personality always came across in his works, Perry and Borton said, and audience members will discover that when they attend the tribute concert.
“One of the great things about art is that you get a sense of the world as seen through the eyes of that particular individual,” Perry said. “Those who knew (Goldstaub) will remember with fondness those attributes that his music brings so readily to the fore. Those who did not know him will wish they had. … It is interesting, fun music with a complex range.”